Where is Gotham City? Survey reveals the fictional places people are most eager to visit

Getting a real-life experience at some of the locations is not far-fetched anymore

The Hogwarts castle ride in Universal Studios, Hollywood. Photo: Universal Studios
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Whether it's navigating the labyrinthine halls of Hogwarts or wandering across the Agrabah desertscape, fictitious locales are a source of travel inspiration for many. The extensive list of made-up places, in books, movies and more, has prompted a survey to find out which are most popular.

Gotham City emerged on top, according to the study by hotel chain Premier Inn. The fictional city is best known as the home of superhero Batman from the DC Comics universe.

Traditionally depicted as being in New Jersey, Gotham shares more similarities with New York City in terms of its look and feel. It is characterised by towering skyscrapers and dark alleys, where most of Batman's crime-fighting takes place.

The survey, which analysed Google searches of 60 fictional locations from books, television shows, comics, movies and video games from January to December 2023, shows 169,690 combined searches for “where is Gotham City” and “where is Gotham City set”.

Next is the fictional underwater city of Atlantis with 126,200 searches. First mentioned in Plato's works in 360BC, it is described as a mighty naval empire that ruled over many parts of the western world, but eventually sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean after a failed attempt to conquer ancient Athens.

In book and on screens, Atlantis is often described with the most advanced technology and modern architecture, perhaps among the many reasons why people want to visit it.

Third on the list is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter series. The castle-turned-school has achieved a cult fan base in pop culture on the back of seven books and eight films, plus a newly released video game. The study shows it has 102,400 searches.

In the books and movies, Hogwarts is somewhere in Scotland, and appears as abandoned ruins to muggles (creator JK Rowling's term for non-magic folk). The seven-storey building is characterised by ancient towers and enchanting interiors. Its grounds are described as being vast, with a lake and forest on the premises.

In the stories, the castle shows itself in its full glory only if you are a wizard or a witch. This no longer has to be the case, though, as various Harry Potter theme parks have cropped up in major tourist hotspots, including Japan and the US. One is also coming soon to Abu Dhabi.

Theme parks aside, several real-life shooting locations of the movies have been a go-to for fans, including the Scottish highlands of Glencoe and Fort William.

The majestic Arabian Desert is represented in the list by Agrabah, the fictional desert kingdom in Disney's Aladdin. In the film, the city is described to be near Jordan River, but it takes inspiration from various other real-world locations, including Baghdad and other areas of the region.

The Sultan's Palace, meanwhile, is believed to be inspired by the Taj Mahal in India.

Rounding up the top five is Stars Hollow from the television show Gilmore Girls, with 67,600 searches. The fictional town is said be to located in Connecticut where protagonists Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter Rory live. Warner Bros Studio filmed many of the show's scenes in Los Angeles, and fans can even take a tour of the set. Some places in New England also inspired the fictional town.

Other locales on the list include Diagon Alley, also from Harry Potter; South Park, from the animated show of the same name; Radiator Springs from Cars; Arendelle, the Norwegian-inspired kingdom and birthplace of Anna and Elsa from Frozen; Vice City and Los Santos from the video game Grand Theft Auto; Pandora from Avatar; and Neverland from Peter Pan.

Updated: March 17, 2024, 12:53 PM